Richard Bennett
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Contrary Cocktail

Moderne Shellac, 2015

Contrary Cocktail

A hypnotic blend of rhythms, landscapes, tones, colors, styles and moods, with melodies leading the way to certain places that only songs without words can go.

-- Pieta Brown, 2015

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Hello from L.A.

 

Spring sprung last week, clocks forward, light late, on the up-swing again.  I hope this finds everyone well and leaning into Spring.  As usual the new season’s prompted me to peck a few words of up-date.

 

On February 10th I departed Nashville arriving in Los Angeles and I’m still here.  We’ve been in rehearsals all this time for the upcoming tour with Neil Diamond, his 50th Anniversary tour of the world.  Very happily, my son Nick is holding down the other guitar chair, so we’ve been having a good time playing these songs together.  It’s been great being with Neil and a few of the guys from the old days who are still on the band; Tom Hensley, King Errisson, Ron Tutt.  Naturally over the years there have been a number of personnel changes and it’s been good getting to know the new guys and playing some music together.  Of course I’m a new guy again too.  I’ve been joking that it’s like an episode of The Twilight Zone where I’ve come out of a 30 year coma to find myself right back where I was though with a much greater appreciation for these songs than when I last played them, they all seem fresh again.  I was surprised how quickly this music has come back to me.  I guess I’ve had it all locked away somewhere and it was simply having the occasion to play them again that brought most of it right back.  I’m looking forward to this year and plan to have great time.  Our first show is in Fresno, California on the 7th of April then we’re on our way.  Check out www.neildiamond.com for the full tour schedule.

 

I love being back on the West Coast again and forgot how much I’ve missed it.  Warm sunshine, palm trees, laid back vibe, lots of memories from the ‘60s through the mid ‘80s for me.  I had a splendid 3-hour lunch with Hal Blaine who I’d not seen since the early ‘80s, a couple of dinners with my brother Jon and his wife Leslie, drove by our old house up in Lake Hollywood, lunch at the Farmer’s Market, Canter’s Deli on Fairfax with Phil Lee, fish and chips at The Buchanan Arms in Burbank, seeing old friend Jim Silvers, Jack and Michelle Conrad, shopping in Santa Monica, etc.  A sentimental journey to be sure and proof that you can go home again.  Another thing L.A. seriously has going on is traffic.  Relentless.  Staggering.  

 

Folks have been asking about the road notes and if I’ll be writing a daily.  The answer is no and yes.  I’ll definitely not be writing a daily but I do plan the occasional journal posting.  My original inspiration for the “Notes” came from my good friend and once-again-band-mate Tom Hensley who for decades has written and posted a journal called The PBI (Post Bugler Intelligencer) whenever he was touring with Neil.  The PBI has evolved over the years from a daily mimeographed sheet to a multi-page, colour, on-line posting two to three times weekly.  Tom has asked if I would write a column now and then in the PBI for this tour which I have happily agreed to after some arm twisting on his part.  Additionally, I plan to up-date my own front page of this website a little more often over the coming months with tour shenanigans independent of the PBI…. the usual fare; food, drink and rants about gyms with crap music blaring.

 

Well, the sun’s shining.. again!… and the swimming pool of my apartment in L.A. is calling.  There on the counter is a bottle of gin and some tonic water, ice in the freezer and limes in the fruit bowl.  Now.. where are my sunglasses…..

 

Aloha from la, la, la, la, la……..

 

 

Richard